Sandra McGinley decided to give her son Joseph an extra year at nursery after concerns he was not ready for formal school.

Because Mrs McGinley was educated in Germany, where pupils go to school aged six or seven, she felt starting earlier could be too young, but wanted to assess Joseph's development.

She said: "He was born in September and would have been four when starting school. From a developmental point of view he may have been ready, but in the months leading up to the start of school I realised he was showing absolutely no interest and had no questions about it when we spoke to him.

"We did not feel he was emotionally ready, particularly because he had struggled with a change of nursery and had been quiet and shy and didn't want to be separated from us in any kind of new environment.

"I would not say this should apply to every child because I have friends with children of the same age who were more than ready, but for Joseph it was the right thing to do."

Mrs McGinley, social worker from Glasgow, said the decision had significant financial implications for the family because they had to pay for an extra year of nursery.

She found the process of applying for funding difficult to navigate and was not sure of her rights, particularly after failing to get her full entitlement under the Scottish Government's free nursery places scheme.

"There were huge financial considerations and we discussed for months whether or not we could afford it because we had to pay the full costs of £600 a month," she said.

"We felt the benefits of Joseph staying in nursery for an extra year, rather than going to school, were worth, but it was a struggle month to month. If we had another child going to nursery at this time we never would have been able to afford it."

Joseph, who is now eight, is happily settled at Our Lady of Annunciation School, on the south side of Glasgow.

"After that 12 month he was ready to go. He showed an interest in going to school and started to want to write his name and had also settled emotionally and he was much more confident. We have never regretted the decision to let him spend that time learning through playing rather than being in more of a formal educational setting."